Thursday, November 29, 2012

You Can't Grow Those Here!!!

Papaya?!? No way!

And yet I am, indeed, growing them in North Central Florida. It just takes some work to pull it off.

My first year's experiment was less than successful, but I've already gotten at least 8 fruits off this year's attempt. In order to grow papaya here, I start the seeds in spring, get the tree to about 4-6' tall in a pot, then plant out the next spring by the wall. I really, really like papaya. So much so that I'm thinking of building a greenhouse for just them. Obsessive? Perhaps. But there's a part of me that longs for the tropics... and papaya are a tangible emblem of that mystical realm. The ones we've harvested thus far have been very delicious - it's hard to share them with the children, but I do. Because I'm a Really Good Dad.

We got hit with a frost last week but it wasn't enough to hurt my trees much. The south wall of my house and a blanket thrown over the top of the nicest of my trees was enough... so far.

Of course, the worst of winter is yet to come. Stay tuned. I'm sure photos of melted trees will be posted here soon enough.

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At November 29, 2012 at 6:39 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I'm really impressed with your success in planting papaya tree in Florida. Your are better than me because I've chopped off my tree as it was heavily infested with mealy bugs.

I have to suppress my laughter when I read about the part where you have to agonise over sharing the fruits with your kids. You must be the most wonderful dad ever ;)

At November 29, 2012 at 9:38 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

I've chopped down a couple trees myself. No mealybugs yet, but I tried a strategic pruning (a machete thwap) on a couple frost-damaged trees last year to try and get them to grow back... and that didn't work out very well. Of course, they were also damaged by the evil hidden herbicides in the manure I'd fed them earlier, so I think they were simply too far gone all around.

As for being a good dad... thanks. My two-year-old absolutely loves papaya and will eat all he can get. Though he calls it "cassava," for some reason.

"Daddy. More cassava. Daddy. More."

At December 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Mamma Bear said...

David...I am in NW Florida about 50 miles from the Alabama line. I grew a bunch of Papaya's from seed. I tried a few outdoors but they didn't make it. I have not found a micro climate on my property. Was successful on getting fruit in the greenhouse. Apparently didn't know when to pick the fruit and it was yucky. Finally gave up!


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